If dentistry had superstars, baking soda would be on the A-list. Also known as sodium bicarbonate, baking soda has many uses outside of dental care, from cleaning multiple surfaces throughout your house to eliminating offensive odors. Its myriad uses, however, do not diminish its effectiveness at keeping your teeth clean and healthy. In times past, people would brush their teeth with baking soda to take advantage of its cleaning power, and today it is a common ingredient in many popular toothpastes. To understand baking soda’s success, Austin dentist Dr. Van Wicklen explores why it is so effective at tooth care.
Baking soda would probably not be as effective if it were not abrasive (rough when rubbed against something). While too much abrasion can damage your tooth enamel and structure, the American Dental Association (ADA) agrees that toothpaste without any abrasive power is largely ineffective at cleaning teeth. When mixed with water, baking soda releases molecules that act as tiny toothbrushes, scrubbing away minor tooth stains that develop from everyday use and dark-colored foods and beverages, effectively cleaning and brightening your smile.
The Power of Neutral
Aside from cleaning teeth, baking soda is also effective at helping you keep them healthy. Tooth decay, the most common dental among children and adults alike, begins with a process called demineralization—when acid attacks and weakens your tooth enamel. The pH scale, which measures a substance’s acidity, ranges from 0-14. Acidic substances measure at the bottom of the scale, and alkaline substances are in the upper region. The number seven, in the middle of the scale, represents neutrality, and a healthy human mouth prefers to rest at around 7.1 (slightly alkaline). Acid, which is found naturally in some foods and produced by oral bacteria after consuming others, lowers your mouth’s pH level toward the acidic region. When this level reaches 5.5 or lower, the acid begins to weaken your enamel until it can no longer repel bacteria and infection. As an alkaline substance, baking soda helps neutralize the effects of acid, keeping your mouth in a safe pH range and preventing acid from damaging your teeth.
Excellent Dental Care in Austin
As powerful as it is, baking soda is only a tool in a small part of your oral health care. Adding some sodium bicarbonate to your tooth brushing routine can make it more effective, but you still must brush your teeth at least twice a day to effectively keep them clean. To learn more, contact your Austin dentist. You can schedule an appointment with Dr. Van Wicklen by calling 512-448-3131. Located in the 78704 area, we proudly serve the cities of Austin, Round Rock, Pflugerville, Bastrop, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and all surrounding communities.